A 2021 Shopping Checklist for Free Live Chat

It may sound contradictory, but shopping for free live chat is both easy and difficult. It’s easy because there are many free live chat solutions to choose from – a testament to the fact that live chat is the most popular emerging customer service channel. The ability to offer live chat support to your customers – for free – is fantastic. 

But with so many free live chat software options to choose from, it can be difficult to compare them and figure out what is best for you and your customers. If you are new to live chat, you might not even know what you should be looking for.  

Fear not, you’re in the right place. In this blog, we’re going to run through the major features to look for when choosing your free live chat software, and why each is important. You’ll have all the information you’ll need to choose the perfect solution for your customers and agents. Let’s dig in.

1. Number of agents 

The first aspect you should consider when shopping for free live chat software is the number of agents (sometimes referred to as licenses) that you get. While some vendors offer a maximum of 3, others offer unlimited agents – including Comm100. 

It’s worth nothing two things here. Firstly, even if you have a small team and a limited number of agents may work for you right now, consider what will happen as you grow. If you stay with the current vendor, you’ll be forced to pay for extra licenses, and if you choose to change, the hunt for a new free live chat solution will begin all over again! Secondly, if you don’t have a dedicated customer service team but instead divide the work between several people and even teams, then having unlimited licenses  becomes invaluable.  

2. Number of chats

Alongside a cap on the number of agents you can have, some free live chat software solutions also limit the number of chats you can have in a given period. This can cause obvious problems and even completely derail your customer service operations, particularly as your live chat offering becomes more and more popular. We recommend you look for a live chat provider that offers unlimited chats so you never have to face this issue! 

3. Data storage

The next thing to consider is the length of time your live chat history can be stored before it is removed. Most free live chat solutions have time constraints on this so as not to overburden the vendor’s data hubs, which means that you won’t have access to this data after a certain time period ago. 

In most cases, this isn’t an issue – but it’s sensible to double check what this time period is as some vendors offer only 7 or 14 days, which can end up causing you some problems. 

4. Security 

As with any customer communication channel, security is critical. You can’t afford your customer’s data getting into the wrong hands because your live chat software didn’t have the most up-to-date and thorough security measures. 

Thankfully, many free live chat tools  still have the basic security features you require. 

However, the level of security does vary a lot between vendors, so make sure you spend your time checking what security measures they have. Compliances to look out for include SOC 2 Type II, ISO 27001, WCAG & GDPR

5. Knowledge base 

A self-serve knowledge base is a central element of any thoughtful customer service effort, yet many free live chat solutions don’t include it – so be sure to search for one that does. 

For those who don’t know what a knowledge base (KB) is, it is essentially an online resource that stores useful information and FAQs in an easily searchable structure. However, not all knowledge bases are created equally. While some vendors only offer internal KBs that agents can access to help them resolve customer questions, others also have external KBs so that your customers can find the answer to their question with any agent support. The latter can be as important as the former, so make sure you find a free live chat solution that offers both to make your customer service operations more efficient. 

6. Pre- and post-chat surveys 

A feature that is often overlooked by free live chat shoppers, pre- and post-chat surveys can be incredibly helpful. Pre-chat surveys are forms that your visitors complete before they begin a live chat with an agent. This lets you collect targeted information about your visitor and identify their problem so you can help them quickly and smoothly.  

Post-chat surveys give your visitors a chance to comment on the quality of experience and service they received at the end of the conversation. It’s a great tool to learn how well your agents — and your team in general – are performing. While some free live chat tools include these surveys for free, many don’t – so make sure to check otherwise you will have to pay extra for it. 

Free Live Chat Software with Unlimited Users & Chats

Free Live Chat Software with Unlimited Users & Chats

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7. Customer support 

With every new tech you adopt, you may encounter some issues when setting it up or first using it. You’ll almost always have questions you’ll want to ask. Take your time to find out from every vendor 1) what customer support you are entitled to as a free customer, and 2) what other customers say about the service they’ve received.  

As a free customer, you may not get a dedicated account manager, but this doesn’t mean you should settle for poor support. If they’re worth their salt, they’ll offer 24/7 support on multiple channels – their whole business is about customer experience after all!  

8. Agent management 

Whether you have two or thousand agents, you need to be in control of your live chat operations. The level of agent management varies a lot between free live chat tools, so here are the key features you should look out for to make sure that you can keep a watchful eye while getting the most out of your agents: 

  • Real-time chat monitoring for quality assurance and training purposes 
  • Join chats to lend a hand 
  • Remove agents or set status as away 
  • Chat with agents 

With tools like these at your disposal, you’ll be sure to offer the absolute best live chat experience possible. 

9. Customizability 

Every free live chat tool includes an element of the vendor’s branding on the chat window appearing on your website. For the most part this is subtle and not an issue. However, you will want to check the level of customization that’s available. It’s important that you can change the color and position of your live chat button to make sure that it matches your site’s branding, as well as the look and feel of the chat window. 

We recommend you also find a free live chat tool that lets you add agent avatars – it’s an easy and effective way to boost engagement with your customers and create a sense of personalization. 

Wrap-up 

With so many features now available within the live chat tool, you’ll need to invest time to find the software that is right for you, your agents, and more importantly – your customers. We hope this post helps you wade through your options so you can find the best free live chat solution for your business! 

Best Free Live Chat Software – Reviews

Best Free Live Chat Software – Reviews

To help you find the best free live chat for your website, we have put together a list of the top free live chat solutions on the market and highlighted their key features and drawbacks.

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About Kate Rogerson

Kate is the Content Marketing Specialist at Comm100. She has extensive experience in content creation for technology companies across the world, including the UK, Australia and Canada. She specializes in B2B messaging, branding and soccer trivia.